The Kooks - Konk
Record Label: Astralwerks
Release Date: April 15, 2008
Totally jammy and totally fun, The Kooks aren't trying to squeeze one by you. The band's second full-length, named Konk after Ray Davies' studio where they recorded the Astralwerks release, has got the Britpop shakedown like a rain forest fever. We're not talking a third wave of the British Invasion, but it could kind of feel that way. Because, as the tropical riffing and easily rompable melodies progress through Konk, it's nearly impossible to not get stuck in the head-snapping guitar work on tracks like "Do You Wanna" or the single, "Always Where I Need To Be".
Not to go without mention, though, The Kooks are very much taking a page from the novel The Kinks already wrote in their 30 year memoir. But we can't really blame The Kooks that much, even if a page reads more like a chapter. The idealism still holds strong on Konk, and that's the mind frame that sunny, lively pop songs with conveniently distorted guitars and precisely catchy choruses sound really good when you shine them with an accented swagger like singer, Luke Pritchard's. It's a whole lot sexier too.
This shouldn't come as a left-fielder; it's something most recognized on the band's debut Inside In/Inside Out. From then to now, there isn't any change in overall sound worth writing home about. But from then to now, the band has turned production into a fifth member. Konk has been fine-tuned with a teensy comb (by producer Tony Hoffer) so that vulnerability and natural pop instinct aren't as convincing. This comes as a blow, but it still doesn't damage tracks like "Shine On".
Still, Konk succeeds in purpose, which isn't more than to dance and enjoy. Layers canoodle with transitions, and transitions give it up pretty quick so that Konk moves pretty quick too, and the whole album then becomes a warehouse of in and out radio-able hits. This is an odd conundrum for the lasting power continuum, however. Nearly all the tracks have something really grabbing about them, but that doesn't mean they all stick next to each other. At the same time, it's not so surprising, because if The Kooks did produce a sophomore release that was busting at the seams with instantly memorable world wonders, they would have reached a certain level of perfection. And as a band that's not really doing anything to throw around the box, it's hard to give The Kooks credit beyond the simple and fun jams they're reproducing.
Personally I agree with Pitchfork, this CD is pretty bland and unoriginal. I loved Inside In/Inside Out. That was one of my albums of the year. So it's safe to say I was expecting alot from Konk. To me it didn't deliver. None of the songs stood out to me while I was listening to it. Well other than 'Do You Wanna?' and 'Always Where I Need To Be'. I'm not a good reviewer and I'm not trying to be by a long shot, I'm just saying that this is a pretty bland CD when compared to the debut. If you want to argue that there isn't much of a sonic difference, I disagree. Production is much more evident, which the reviewer pointed out, but also the instrumentals aren't as grasping.